“Until a tax legislation in information technology field is enacted, I don’t think there is the risk of seeing any larger pay cuts”, said Vivien Untaru, chief executive of recruitment firm Von Consulting.

Looking at the list of IT salaries in the early second half 2009, numbers have remained at 2008 level, comfortable enough since any of the bonuses or perks hadn’t been scaled back. The net salary of a chief technology officer was around €5,000 a month, while a project manager would make around €3,000 a month and an IT specialist at least €900, according to data provided by BrainSpotting, human resources company specialized in IT recruitment.

Compared to spring last year, the autumn of 2009 had seen pay cuts in average entry salaries of up to €500, according to Ariadna Sutac, recruitment manager at BrainSpotting. Chief technology officers in multinational companies are starting to negotiate their financial compensations starting from €3,000, middle managers (software development manager, technology manager) from €2,000, while specialists with 2-4 year experience from €700.

However, official figures from the National Institute of Statistics suggested an average net salary in the tech industry of €579 (2450 lei).

Another survey carried by Joobs.ro site mid last year had indicated a maximum average salary for IT positions of €2,000. The average starting salaries for IT positions, regardless to the place of residence, experience or position would reach €987.

According to Joobs.ro, the biggest net monthly salary was in Bucharest and was around €1,074 , followed by cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants - €999 and cities with 50,000-100,000 inhabitants - €649. Apart from Bucharest, Cluj and Iasi lead the rankings with the highest average compensation packages for techies – €1,000-1,100 a month.

According to market specialists, salary forecasts for information technology industry are purely informative, because the difference between small companies and corporations lies in the complexity of the projects techies are being assigned, and hence, the pay structure is commission-based, instead of fixed payment, but it also arises from the place of residence. But even these bonuses lose their glamour in a cash-strapped information technology company.

“As all the recent studies revealed, the merit pay packages offers to tech employees shrank among the majority of the companies. However, organizations tend to keep those benefits – such as medical services”, Sutac added.

In Bucharest, salaries are higher than in any other city in the country, because the cost of living is also higher in the capital. The differences depend largely upon the branch of the industry. In applications development, the difference is 10-30%, while in help desk management it can be as large as 20-50%”, said Untaru.

The recruiter added tech jobs openings haven’t declined so much, but the recruitment process is hindered by the experienced candidates’ reticence in changing their job in rough times.

Despite the fact that tech jobs offer is larger than in other markets, the race for a high-paid job seems to be as tight as some time ago, as young graduates with less than six months experience make up the most effervescent segment of candidates for IT positions.

Entry-level salaries will drop this year, largely due to the narrow job offer and the high number of candidates. There are also veteran IT professionals who apply for these jobs, thus adding more heat to the competition”, Untaru continued.

Last year, a young graduate or an employee with less than six months experience could earn €400 - €700, according to BrainSpotting.

Finding a job is even more difficult for those who graduated last year or will graduate later this year. So far, graduates absorption rate has been 100%. In the context of a shortage of tech professionals, companies hired even persons who didn’t graduate from a specialized faculty. As things don’t look exactly the same now, it would be normal for those who graduate from a specialized faculty to find a job in their field of expertise”, said Valerica Dragomir, chief executive of ANIS.

“Tech professionals in demand in 2010 are for help-desk department, due to the outsourcing centers, as well as for applications programming/development. We think that the number of companies that provide help desk services for external customers will rise in 2010”, Untaru added.

At this point, there are 327 software and 795 hardware job postings on eJobs, 2,136 postings on Jobber.ro and 1,158 on Joobs.ro.